Jessica W.

Jessica W.

★★★★★
★★★★★
7 Reviews
Lafayette, CA

About Jessica W.

Background check: Last verified 10/25/2014
Jessica passed a background check on 10/25/2014 that included the following:
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Jessica teaches: Males 5 and up
Females 5 and up
Teaching since: August 2009
Last sign in: Today
Average response time: 20 hours

Overview

Hi! My name is Jessica and I would love to be your voice and/or piano teacher! I have been studying and performing classical music for 21 years. My relationship with music started at age 9 with the Contra Costa Children's Choir and I have maintained my classical vocal studies ever since. Along with my vocal studies, I studied classical piano privately with Keith Snell for 7 years, competing and achieving high marks in regional competitions. I went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in Music at Mannes College of Music in New York City and finished my education at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where I received my Masters, receiving training in vocal pedagogy and physiology, as well as vocal performance. I graduated from SFCM in 2009 and immediately began perusing both a teaching and performing career.

I have maintained an active voice and piano studio since 2011 and also teach with Village Center for the Arts, giving private lessons as well as working with their In School Outreach Programs, teaching Beginning Piano Class and Musical Theater Workshop. Other teaching opportunities include Vocal Master Class with Acalanes High School Women's Ensemble, voice instructor and Alto section leader for Occidental Choral Retreat with Volti SF, Music Instructor with Gymboree, and volunteer pre-school music instructor at Fairmount Elementary in SF.

I am an active performer in the Bay Area as well, performing with the new music ensemble Volti, Lyric Theatre San Jose, Opera on Tap San Francisco, Urban Opera, West Coast Opera Works, San Francisco Baroque Opera, and Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI). I have also been employed as a performer on the east coast, making my professional debut with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in 2011 and singing the title role in Handel’s Radamisto with The Manhattan Opera Studio in August 2014.

During my many years studying music, I was inspired by several amazing teachers. They are responsible for making me the artist and musician I am today. My mission as a teacher is to pass on the wonderful knowledge and passion that was given to me onto a new group of eager young minds. I am truly a self proclaimed music dork and proud of it! I am a fun, patient, passionate teacher and am very excited to be a part of the TakeLessons team!

*** Lesson Details ***
In my lessons, I feel it is important for my students to have fun and to and enjoy the learning process. However I believe in order for both student and teacher to get the most out of the lesson, practicing at home is extremely important and I expect my students to do so. I will always send them home with a goal or assignment that should be reached or completed by the next lesson to the best of the students ability.

For my voice students, we always begin with breath. Proper breathing is the foundation for all good singing. Then we move on to warming up both the voice and the body. During warm-ups, we will focus technical concepts such as breath control and support, vowel placement, and optimum vocal production. In most lessons (time permitting) we will work through a piece of music, one of their choosing or, if needed, I will recommend a piece. We finish each lesson with a review of the concepts we discussed during the lesson and practice goals for the week.
For my piano students, I begin with finger placement and keyboard awareness. Depending on the students age and level, we will use both a music book and a music theory book (for very young students, I will hold off on the music theory and focus mostly on finger placement and keyboard awareness). Each week, I will assign two pieces of music and pages in the music theory book (again depending upon student's age and level). Students are expected to prepare the assignments by practicing at home and have them ready at the next lesson.

Communication is something very important to me as a teacher. I want my students to feel comfortable expressing their needs and/or concerns, musically or otherwise and hope they would appreciate me, as the teacher, to do the same.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Upright piano with seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide music and have a portable electronic keyboard.

*** Specialties ***
Classical voice is definitely my specialty. I believe good classical technique is the basis for all good singing and can be applied to genres such as musical theater and jazz. The only vocal styles I am NOT comfortable teaching are belting, pop or rock style vocal production.

Photos and Videos

Experience

Voice and Piano Instructor May 2014 - Present
Village Center for the Arts

Provide weekly, private voice and piano lessons to students of all ages and levels and conducts group classes as a part of Village Center's enrichment program in public schools throughout the East Bay (Musical Theater Workshop, Band of Voices, Beginning Piano)

Mezzo-soprano Nov 2011 - Present
Opera on Tap San Francisco

Opera on Tap is a nation wide organization geared to making opera a more accessible music genre that appears to a wider audience. We perform month aria and scene concerts at The Royale in San Francisco and put on two full operatic productions per year. In June of 2013, I performed as Cherubino in "Le Nozze di Figaro" by Mozart and in December of 2013 I performed the title role in "La Cenerentola" by Rossini.

Private Music Instructor Sep 2011 - Present
Takelessons.com

Give private voice and/or piano instruction to pupils ranging in ages 6-65, beginning to advanced.

Guest Instructor Jan 2014 - Jan 2014
Acalanes High School

Led a Master Class in vocal technique to the music departments advanced choirs.

Alto Section Leader Sep 2010 - Jun 2012
Volti

Professional new music ensemble in San Francisco, directed by Robert Geary. I was an alto section leader within a 20 person ensemble and we put on three concert sets a season with works by only living composers. I also attended bi-annual music camps leading section rehearsals, teaching voice lessons, and adjudicating choral concerts for a group of 50+ high school age singers.

Music and Play&Learn Instructor Nov 2009 - Jun 2011
Gymboree

Prepared lesson plans and conducted weekly classes for children ages 0-3 based on age group and it's developmental stage. Class sizes ranged from 2-20 (parents present).

Education

Master of Music Sep 2007 - May 2009
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Bachelor of Music Aug 2003 - May 2007
Mannes College of Music

Languages Spoken

French Limited Proficiency
Italian Limited Proficiency

Certifications

Zumba Instructor Mar 2011
Zumba

Licensed Zumba Instructor and part of the Zumba Instructor Network

Awards

Takelessons.com Top Teacher Jul 2012
Takelessons.com
Merit Scholarship May 2006
Mannes College of Music
Arion Choral Award Jun 2003
Acalanes High School
2nd Place, Sonata Contest (Piano) Mar 2002
California Music Teacher's Association Contra Costa County
Write a Review

★★★★★
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7 Reviews on Jessica W.

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Christine G. April 28, 2014
Classical Voice
Patient and encouraging

I'm always impressed with how Jessica is patient with our 7 year old daughter and still is able to draw her out and motivate her when she is tired from school. Jessica always finds creative ways to be inspirational. Both my husband and I drive 15 miles to be able to have Jessica teach our little girl. We think she is worth it. She has been flexible and always tried her best to work within our schedule and has even driven out to our house to cover a lesson when things didn't work out in the schedule.
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Kellian D. March 11, 2014
Piano
Wonderful teacher

Jessica is teaching piano and voice to my 10 year daughter, and I am so impressed with her skills as a teacher. She is patient, encouraging, and inspiring, and her love for both music and teaching is apparent. She is also extremely knowledgeable about music theory and uses a teaching method that's very effective and gets students actually playing music right away, without shortchanging their long term development as musicians. Jessica is a rare find, plus she comes to our house for lessons!
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Jeannemarie H. February 27, 2014
Piano
Jessica is great with kids and makes music so much fun!

I have two girls, ages 9 and 6. They both take piano with Jessica once a week. I can't express enough how great Jessica is with them and her ability to adjust to their ages and their ways of learning.
Jessica is so passionate about music which is demonstrated in her teaching style and of course all her education, training, and performances.
Jessica is so wonderful in her communication - showing such support throughout the lesson and has a great ability to explain the music so they understand.
My girls are very fortunate to have such a great mentor and teacher. Jessica is a true professional who is fully committed to music. We could not be happier!
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Edward H. February 12, 2013
excellent

I am very satisfied with the piano lesson and the instructions I am getting from Jessica. She is providing me with instructions and explanations of the basics, such as reading music and the scales and the piano key board. She is taking time with the basics, which I really need and do appreciate. She is very articulate and gives very clear explanations. Communicates very well. She is very reliable and also on time.

I am very satisfied with these lessons and Jessica's teaching skill.
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Lisa T. January 15, 2013
Jessica is a perfect fit for my daughter.

We are new to the area, and my daughter, who is a high school Senior, needed a new voice teacher. Jessica was able to pick up right where her previous voice teacher left off. In just 4 lessons Jessica has refreshed the basics and added new concepts. Most importantly Madison loves Jessica because she is honest with her and doesn't quit until she hears what she is looking for. Madison plans to study musical theater in college, and I believe with Jessica's help she will be prepared. We are lucky to have found her!
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Jennifer M. December 10, 2012
Opera Voice
Here you will find an ally in your search for excellence.

I've had five private voice coaches in my life and Jessica is the finest. As one might expect after viewing her resume, she is an excellent musician with a rarefied degree of training. What her resume doesn't tell you is that she is a gifted educator who not only understands vocal production but also is able to think of several different ways to communicate a single concept.

I recall a couple of my (otherwise talented) voice teachers as frustrated performers whose cynicism informed my lesson time. This is not an issue you need to worry about with Jessica. She has performance gigs and is happily active in her professional community. One may secure her time safe in the knowledge that the lesson will be about the pupil.

Possibly the most distinguishing aspect of studying with Jessica is her facility for problem-solving. Whenever tell her about a physical sensation or an emotional reaction I am having while vocalizing, she not only listens and is supportive but she also takes the extra step of formulating a plan to address the issue. It is this extra step that sets her apart as a teacher. There are not many instructors in the performing arts whom upon hearing, "Wow, I feel really weird when I do 'X'," will subsequently diagnose the physical source of the reported weirdness and then have both the patience and focus to suggest and implement techniques to overcome it.

While I am an adult student, I would not hesitate to recommend Jessica as a teacher for children and teenagers new to training in the arts. I have talked with her enough in the few minutes before and after lessons to know that she genuinely likes young people and has purposely and enthusiastically taken jobs teaching them in the past. Did my nephew live locally I would undoubtedly have him studying voice and piano with her.
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WinnieW June 26, 2012
Jessica is an excellent voice coach. She is warm, nurturing, and very patient with her student. I highly recommend her!